Fewer people have been getting their COVID-19 vaccines, but that doesn't mean people don't want the shots, meaning President Joe Biden's goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated by July 4 is achievable, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Wednesday.
"That means we need to get 25 million more people over the next two months," Gottlieb, a CNBC contributor, said on the networks' "Squawk Box." "We're going to see a slowing rate of vaccination but I think we should be able to hit that kind of a target."
The administration has announced that it will push out vaccines to different avenues, including going into communities through mobile vans, pharmacies, and doctors' offices, Gottlieb said, so people who have been having a hard time getting into larger distribution locations will now have a way to get their vaccines.
"I'm not sure that the people who are left don't want the vaccine," he said. "They just don't want to spend the whole day getting the vaccine or lining up for it. There are people if it's offered in a doctor's office or maybe if they find it in a Walmart or CVS while they're walking in with no appointment, they'll get the vaccine...it's a little bit of a stretch goal, but I think we'll get there."
Meanwhile, there are questions being raised about the intellectual property of the vaccines, and being able to help other countries if the patents aren't handed over, and Gottlieb, also a member of the Pfizer board, said he thinks the United States should hand the vaccines over.
"By the end of July, we'll have 300 million extra vaccines with the manufacturers," said Gottlieb. "I think we can be providing more to other countries including India. Remember, India was going to be manufacturing their own vaccine. They had set as a goal 4 million doses over the next year. It's been more challenging to get the yields of that vaccine. They've only been able to distribute more than 100 million doses. "
Gottlieb added that he thinks the doses of vaccines that are being stockpiled in the United States should be given away if they aren't going to be used.
'It's not a trivial affair with the vaccines," he said. "India has demonstrated that with the challenges they've had scaling up the Astra Zeneca vaccine. Even if countries are cooperating and doing a full tech transfer, it could take a year to stand this up. These are complex vaccines that we use. It's new-age manufacturing technology."
Gottlieb added that he doesn't know what happened with India's plans to manufacture vaccines, but added the yield on Astra Zeneca's vaccine is much lower than that from Johnson & Johnson.
"I suspect over time they're going to get doses available," he said. "They've also had challenges distributing it...it's harder to manufacture these new vaccines than we think. We've seen companies even in the U.S. run into challenges."
Meanwhile, U.S. companies must get permission from the government to ship out vaccines, so if there are 300 million doses sitting domestically, it must stay until the government makes an "affirmative" decision.
"Right now, there aren't quite that many," he said. "That's what I estimate by end of July there's been estimates put out of 300 million right now in the district channel, 75 to 80 million doses maybe a little more in warehouses so there are extra doses sitting around in the U.S. There's always some in the supply chain, but it's starting to build up at this point."
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